Of the four potential designs shown at last night’s second community design meeting for the new 34th/Barton P-Patch, that one won an informal vote, double the support of the second-most popular. Another informal poll indicated support for preserving the big birch tree that’s on the sprawling site (a hot topic of discussion at the first meeting, as noted in our report from last month). After the jump – the three other designs, plus toplines from last night’s meeting:
The four designs that were presented were what resulted from Barker Landscape Architects reviewing the eight possibilities roughed out by tables of participants at the first meeting, which had a slightly higher attendance than last night (both were at Southwest Community Center). Here are the other three design alternatives:
The vote results were 16 for A, 4 for B, 6 for C, and 8 for D. The design/construction budget for the site is only about $35,000; architect John Barker listed the estimated costs of the designs as $24,000 for A, $30,000 for B, $44,000 for C, and $38,000 for D.
(WSB photo taken last month)
As for the big birch tree – each design was sketched with it and without it. Pros and cons were listed; one “con,” of course, is shade from the tree, though it was noted that while the tree does create shade on the site, that would only affect plots for about an hour or so per day in the summer. Other “cons” included the tree losing its leaves annually, more space for garden plots if the root ball doesn’t have to be taken into consideration, plus, keeping it means it has to be maintained (pruned, etc. Removing it also would cost money, perhaps $500.
For the “pros” – as mentioned at meeting #1, an arborist called it the best example of this type of tree that she had seen in the city; it also affects the site’s micro-climate, and provides habitat for birds, squirrels, and insects, as well as being a “kid magnet” – a natural play element.
The tree is believed to be about a third of the way through its life cycle, which means, of course, it will likely get bigger. So, stay or go? An informal poll was taken by table; three wanted to keep the tree, while the fourth was “divided” on the subject. There was also discussion about whether the decision on the tree’s fate should be opened to community members beyond those at the meeting; the Westwood Neighborhood Association (which does not currently have regular meetings) was mentioned as one possible group to consult.
Another topic of discussion: How much of a “common area” the site should have, and whether the final decision on that would affect the possibility of getting matching funds to increase the budget for site development.
Next steps: The third meeting is set for 1:30 pm April 2nd, also at Southwest Community Center. That’s when the proposed final design will be presented; if the project keeps proceeding on its current schedule, it could be ready for gardening this fall. For comments or questions in the meantime, there’s contact info on the official city webpage for the new P-Patch.
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